How to Find Products at Wholesale Trade Shows to Sell on Amazon, eBay or Your Own Website
By: Skip McGrath
Trade shows are a great place to find products that will make money on Amazon and eBay, but you have to think through what you are doing and apply some research.
One of my readers is an online seller who is about to attend a large industry wholesale trade show. He sent me an email asking how to find products at the show to sell profitably. I was about to reply to his email, when I realized that this subject would make a good article.
Here was his question. (I have changed a few things to protect his specific target market and personal info):
I am going to the XYZ Industry show next week and don’t know where to start with product sourcing. There are going to be so many products and niches to pick from I don’t know what to research right now. After I go there, I am going to have hundreds of ideas for niches? HOW DO YOU PICK ONE?
Right now I sell XYZ Products, but they don’t sell well on eBay, so I am going to look into something else -maybe Amazon.
The show is 3 days long, but I could spend a week there and still be lost. They have the floor plan where they have the new and hot products, but I don’t know where to start. How can you research if something is new?
If you are an Amazon or eBay seller, my suggestion for attending trade shows is to take an internet access device such as a smartphone, iPad or laptop computer. Get Terapeak’s eBay research tool loaded on your computer. This will allow you to find products and research them to see if they sell on eBay (Use Amazon Seller App for Amazon). [Note: Terapeak is designed for eBay -but I find the results work quite well on Amazon. Nevertheless, if you are sourcing to sell on Amazon, I would also get the Amazon Seller App if you have a smart phone].
When you go to the show, first look for products that interest you. Every time you narrow down three or four products that appeal to you, find a hotspot, go online and research the products, (Unlike a few years ago, most shows now have wireless). After you research it on eBay and/or Amazon, I suggest you also research the general web (Google or various shopping search engines).
If you don’t have an iPad or laptop, many trade shows have computers set up in the lobby and you can go online to Amazon or eBay and do a completed items search and then search Google. You should be able to log onto Terapeak as well.
Then just keep repeating the process. My wife and I spent one day at the Seattle Gift Show and found five potential products to sell on Amazon and eBay in less than eight hours. Had we gone back the next day, I am sure we would have found more.
Remember one thing: Some products can only be sold by look, touch and feel. When you are looking at a product, think: “Can I photograph and describe this so people will get it -or is this one of those things that you really have to hold in your hand to understand?”
Most importantly think niche when you look at products. If, for example, you were going to a trade show related to the pet industry, the various niches might include (but not limited to) pet health, food, transportation, cages, clothing, jewelry, training, etc. Of course, these would break down further in dog, cat, fish, etc. If it were a hardware show, you would be thinking of niches related to building, fixing, maintaining, decorating and so on. A niche is nothing more than putting things into some type of category.
Here is an 11-Point Checklist to Use When Searching for Products:
- Look for products that sell for over $25 -$50 or more, is even better. That way you don’t have to sell hundreds of small items to make a decent profit.
- Does the item have at least a 30% profit margin on eBay (35% to 40% or more is even better)? On Amazon, since I use FBA, I look for at least a 22% margin.
- Are the products easy to photograph and describe? Does the product have a clear benefit to the user that is obvious and/or easy to explain?
- Are they easy to ship? Think about size, weight, packaging material, etc. Are they fragile and require special packaging?
- Is the product unique? Does it have a unique angle or benefit that you can easily communicate?
- A product not everyone is selling (a little competition is OK, but not massive competition)?
- A just introduced new product is good, but not necessary.
- Is the product a candidate for bundling or multi-packing
- Is not a fad that will pass quickly.
- Have a cross-sell or up-sell potential (Are they related to other products you are selling that could be sold to your same customers?) Are they candidates for bundling?
- Most importantly is it a product you personally like or would buy and can stand behind?
On one hand you want the trust your instincts -but on the other hand, it does pay to do some research. I think my instincts are pretty good, but if I want to avoid mistakes and make more money, I always research products before I place a purchase order.
Remember, researching a product right at the show can be difficult. You don’t have to place orders at the show. You can look at the products, get catalogs and pricing and do the research when you go home. Then when you determine if you want to try a product you can place an order at that time.
I cover more about Amazon wholesale sourcing and trade shows in The Complete Amazon Marketing System .